JOHN PALMESINO // Fathoms

Tonight we had the pleasure of hosting John Palmesino, and his Territorial Agency partner Ann-Sofi Rönnskog, as part of the IaaC Spring Lecture Series 2014 discussing “Fathoms”, an excursus through theoretical and practical experiences of the Territorial Agency.

Fathoms, a unit of length equal to six feet (1.8 metres), chiefly used in reference to the depth of water. The original sense was ‘something which embraces’, ‘the outstretched arms’; hence, a unit of measurement based on the span of the outstretched arms….

John Palmesino proposes the term “Fathoms” to question how we approach architecture, intended as a comprehensive and transdisciplinary field:

What is our time? How do we measure it?

We are confronting the rise, extension, deployment and stabilisation of a series of new spaces: territories are reshaped, political connections cut through, agricultural structures reshaped, cities intensified, infrastructures severed and reorganised, resources accessed and exploited. A new series of human spaces is taking form at a dimension unprecedented, sweeping across existing relations, establishing new compounds and moulding new industrial and financial supply chains.

Architecture sets out to measure, sense, imagine and interact with these unfolding form-generating processes: it engages with them, it stabilises them, it amplifies and sustains them, often with disruptive and dislocating outputs. Separation, segregation, disconnection, severance, containment, exclusion are operative architectural forces that are reshaping human activities in our time; as well as reaching out, interconnecting, circulating, globalising, linking and spinning. Do we have the courage to think architecture at the intersection and in interaction with these new, vast, coercive and consistence forms? Can architecture re-imagine them? Dislodge their brutality?

Before the Lecture, both John and Ann-Sofi were guest crits, along with Maite Bravo, in the mid-term presentation of the Emergent Territories Research Studio, led by Willy Muller, with Pablo Ros and Jordi Vivaldi.

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